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Viewpoint: The Advantage Card, Heathrow and the Wycombe railway line

Featuring a call for safer crossings on Bray Road, anger over plans to axe the Advantage Card parking discount, and a reality check for those calling for the Bourne End to High Wycombe line to be re-introduced.

Staff reporter

Staff reporter

Viewpoint: The Advantage Card, Heathrow and the Wycombe railway line

Green light needed on Bray Road crossings

Why has it all gone quiet about making the crossings in Bray Road safe for pedestrians?

Surely the unfortunate death of someone on the crossing by Chiltern Road focusses the mind of those in the Town Hall to give this matter urgent attention.

Obviously not!

Yet I read in last week’s Advertiser (January 23) that a crossing in just north of the Oaken Grove and Linden Avenue junctions is being considered for a raised crossing because it is near an infant and junior school.

Bray Road crossings are near Oldfield School and are used extensively every day, so can we hear what is happening and when? And get a move on RBWM.

JON REEKIE

Oldacres

Maidenhead 


Disadvantage of taking away Advantage card 

Is this the final nail in the coffin in the town of Maidenhead?

More shops are closing than ever before and what is the council’s answer? Take away the Advantage card that saves residents of our town money on parking.

This will surely send more people to Bracknell, Reading and High Wycombe

BARRY GARDINER

Roseleigh Close

Maidenhead 


Abolition of discount parking is nail in coffin  

It is rare for us to agree with Simon Werner and even rarer for us to put pen to paper and make our views known.

Like the majority of the population we sit and suffer in silence, as we know our views will not make any difference.

However on this occasion we have to vent our feelings about the loss of Advantage card parking discounts for residents.

The proposed abolition of residents discounted parking will indeed be another, if not the final nail in Maidenheads coffin.

The town is already a shambles and we frequently have to run the gauntlet of construction vehicles. There are very few shops currently worth a visit.

Therefore with charges currently between £1.10 and £1.40 per hour (we dare say these will be increased in April anyway) which are generally reduced to 30p and occasionally 60p for residents.

It is very unlikely we will continue to use Maidenhead and when we have to it will be far less frequently.

BOB and HELEN WEINGARTH

Alwyn Road

Maidenhead 


Reducing council tax subsidy a step too far

I am responding to the article in last week’s ‘Tiser, ‘Poor face paying more council tax’ (January 30), which was ‘softened’ to ‘Budget plans feature reduction in subsidy’ in the Express.

This refers to the consultation on reducing the council tax subsidy to our lowest paid working-age residents, which would mean a doubling of what they now pay.

How can this be ‘protecting our most vulnerable’, which is what the council claims it is doing?

The leader states in the article: “All we ask them to do is put in a little bit more in their contribution to council tax.”

But this ‘little bit more’ might be easy for him and indeed for me to find, but I suggest NOT for someone on a very low income.

Finding the additional few pounds every week on top of the four per cent increase in council tax (and increases yet to be announced on parish, fire service and TVP precepts), on top of their food and utility bills, will just be too much for some.

Already the numbers at our local food banks are steadily increasing month on month, and this will undoubtedly fuel this increase.

Is this really the type of community we want to live in?

The consultation closes Februray 7. Visit www3.rbwm.gov.uk/Consultations

Cllr HELEN PRICE

The Borough First

Clewer & Dedworth East Ward 


No future for Bourne End to Wycombe line

There is no greater advocate and enthusiast of rail travel than me, but it’s time to get a grip about the Bourne End to High Wycombe line, and the potential for re-opening it.

First, on the route of the old line there is an office park, housing, and re-constructed roads.

The furore to be caused by the threat of bulldozing all of these is beyond imagination.

Second, any traffic reduction that might result from re-opening – and where is the evidence for such? – would be outweighed by increased demand for parking, already at a premium and sure to increase anyway at Maidenhead once Crossrail reaches Liverpool Street.

How many people realistically want to go station to station without any other form of transport being involved?

I’m sure the Royal Borough would think it a feather in their cap to back a re-opening.

But then, this is the same council that calls the demolition of shops and their replacement with enormous blocks of flats ‘regeneration’ of the town centre.

JIM TUCKER

Chauntry Road

Maidenhead 


Never forget our most famous Rotarian

Thank you for your two page spread commemorating the Holocaust and Sir Nicholas Winton, a hero of that time.

Sir Nicky was a member of Maidenhead Rotary Club for many years and is remembered fondly, to this day, by many Rotarians.

He is our most famous Rotarian because of his work in saving the lives of hundreds of Jewish Czech children.

A visit to his garden in Oaken Grove is an inspirational experience. We must never forget the dreadful events of that time.

MARY SPINKS CBE

Maidenhead Rotary Club 


Does cold and draughty feature in town vision? 

Walking through the wind tunnel effect around Berkshire House today (Monday) I began to worry about similar effects from other tower blocks planned in central Maidenhead, especially the three towers at the Landing and a proposed 25-storey tower in the rebuilt Nicholson Centre.

I’m sure many Advertiser readers will remember that before the High Street entrance to the precinct was enclosed there was also a shocking wind tunnel effect underneath Nicholson House.

Along with the wind, tall buildings cast very long shadows.

At noon on Monday the shadow from Berkshire House (half the height of the Nicholson tower) stretched up Market Street to beyond West Street.

I am very concerned that the wind and shadows from the new towers will make our ‘new’ town centre cold and draughty, not a place where one would wish to linger.

I hope that before Borough planners accept a planning application for any more new towers they will insist on computer modelling of wind effects and shadows.

RICHARD POAD

Cookham Dean 


Air is full of Heathrow growth misinformation  

I am writing to follow-up on the excellent letter by Paul Strzelecki (Viewpoint, January 30) regarding the misleading leaflet delivered by Back Heathrow.

It is right that we must reduce global warming. The Paris Climate Accord determined that we must ensure that average temperature does not exceed 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, but it is now already 1C above and is headed towards 3C above by 2100.

BackHeathrow’s leaflet says that electric planes are the answer but this is not the case.

The Government’s own Committee for Climate Change has said ‘there are likely to be no commercially available zero-carbon planes by 2050, particularly for long-haul flights', and this ‘will require breakthroughs in battery energy density to become a commercially viable proposition’.

The global fleet of 25,000 passenger aircraft have been manufactured over the last 15 years so if ever large electric aircraft became available, it would still take 15 years to replace the fleet.

BackHeathrow say that offsetting is the answer but, when passing the UK Climate Change Act, the Government was clear that ‘net-zero emissions must be reached across the whole economy (including emissions from international aviation and shipping) and that the aim is to achieve the target entirely through action in the UK without recourse to international credits (or ‘offsets’)’.

BackHeathrow and Heathrow say that they will provide six and a half hours night-time respite, but that is ‘from the gate’ and ‘to the gate’.

Taking into account time to the runway, take off and to be over West London or the Thames Valley and vice-versa for landing, that equates to only five and half hours respite each night. But the World Health Organisation recommends that adults get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.

The Airports Commission said a third runway would bring £147bn in benefit to Britain and Heathrow maintain it is £211bn, but these figures are both over 60 years. However the Department for Transport has progressively reduced this estimation by 60 per cent to just £61bn and again over 60 years amounting to only about £1bn per annum or only 0.05 per cent of the UK’s £2 trillion annual productivity or GDP.

This ‘business benefit’ and jobs are shown closely aligned in Heathrow’s Quod report, which it has now removed from their website. So its jobs estimates should be reduced by a similar 60 per cent. To gain approval to build Terminal 5, Heathrow promised 6,000 new jobs however since that time the number employed at Heathrow has reduced from around 79,000 to 76,000.

They say that despite 700 more flights per day, they will reduce the number of cars to and from the airport but they have not made any progress doing so, because they can charge high amounts for parking.

Heathrow is 90 per cent owned by Chinese, Singaporean, Qatari, Spanish and Canadians who last year received £800m in dividends and yet paid only £24m in corporation tax to the UK government in total over the previous 10 years. So this is not about business and benefit for Britain, but about increased profit and dividends for Heathrow’s foreign shareholders.

Heathrow clearly have huge additional dividends to gain from airport expansion, whilst those around suffer in many ways, so in light of all their misinformation how can we believe what they say?

PAUL GROVES

Tithe Barn Drive

Maidenhead 


Cutting Ways into Work hits most vulnerable  

It was with a heavy heart that we learnt that RBWM are to cut valuable services due to the gross mismanagement of funds over recent years.

Our grandson has a learning disability and is vulnerable. Ways Into Work CIC is an organisation that supports people with disabilities into meaningful, paid employment with local companies.

With dedication, support and understanding our grandson is now working in a job he adores, paid the going rate and is a valued member of staff.

The chance to work within a supported environment has been life-changing for him and the family.

The knock-on effect has been extreme, he is no longer socially isolated, is financially independent and his world has opened up.

Without Ways Into Work, none of this would have been possible, not just for our grandson but so many like him.

It provides a vital and valuable service to local residents who would otherwise be left outside the working community.

Due to the incompetence of RBWM, Ways Into Work has had to slim down the service it provides due to funding cutbacks, which will leave many families and individuals wondering what the future holds.

Once again it is the most vulnerable that suffer due to the incompetence of others.

Mr and Mrs EMBERY

Oakley Green Road

Windsor


Too many roadworks making town gridlocked

The incompetence of the traffic ‘planners’ in Maidenhead never ceases to amaze me.

I appreciate people need homes etc and so building has to take place, but does no one consider the infrastructure required to support these homes and those that use the roads, etc in the area.

Three-way lights have been put in on the Upper Bray Road by the cricket club. This is causing jams but I appreciate the traffic is filtered.

Then some bright spark decides to close Oldfield Road South, hence that side of Maidenhead is already gridlocked and that’s just the first night – would traffic lights at the roundabout not have made sense to keep the traffic filtering?

It took me an hour this evening (Monday) to travel 10 miles – this is entirely unacceptable.

Maidenhead has Crossrail coming, what hope is there for commuters to get to the station and use this service when the powers that be can’t organise the simplest of things when planning road works etc – really disappointing.

Why not wait till half term at least?

This should be an unbelievable situation but it’s not. Incompetence continues abound.

Can anyone explain the stupidity of this situation?

SUE FLINT

Maidenhead


Why are there not two exits from Oldfield Rd? 

I read with some dread in this week’s edition that Oldfield Road is to be closed during the month of February.

I understood the Stafferton Way link road was built to remove the through traffic coming from the A308 and going along the Bath Road, I can imagine what the town centre is going to be like as I often come from the Bath Road along here at about 4.45pm and Oldfield Road is solid right back to the roundabout for Bray.

The traffic lights in Grenfell Road have reappeared and are likely to be in place for ten days or so.

Perhaps the council would like to allow some roadworks along the Lower Cookham Road or perhaps it is time to dig up Braywick Road to put in services for the new sports centre!

I have never understood why the exit from Oldfield Road onto the Bath Road was not made two lanes as there is adequate space to allow traffic to simultaneously exit left and right onto the Bath Road thus reducing the congestion.

But then RBWM do seem a little short in the logic division.

As I write to you from a sunny, warm Island in the Canaries, I am pleased that I shall miss a considerable portion of the traffic chaos.

MERVYN BUSTON

East Road

Maidenhead 


Brexit is done – time for a new discussion 

Is it wrong that the main benefit I can see of us finally leaving the EU is that we may no longer be inundated with almost weekly pro-Brexit letters from Dr D R Cooper?

Perhaps he can now choose a different national topic to write to a local newspaper about (is it just me that finds this bizarre)?

May I suggest the under-funding of the NHS.

Perhaps, as a doctor, he could campaign for the extra £350m a week for the NHS to be delivered that Boris promised right up to the referendum.

GAVIN AMES

Barn Drive

Maidenhead 


Economic impact of EU always been marginal 

Phil Jones of the federalist European Movement persists with the mistaken idea that EU membership has brought vital economic benefits to the UK (Viewpoint, January 30).

Well, on page 13 of his 2012 report entitled ‘20 years of the European single market’, Michel Barnier, now the EU chief negotiator, wrote: “EU27 GDP in 2008 was 2.13 per cent or €233 billion higher than it would have been if the Single Market had not been launched in 1992.”

But according to data from the Office for National Statistics, the UK economy grew by no less than twenty-six times that paltry 2.13 per cent, over 55 per cent, during the same period, which was an average growth rate of 2.8 per cent each year.

Similarly the trend growth rate of the UK economy from 1948 up to 2018 has been 2.6 per cent a year, with the average rate before we joined the EEC or Common Market in 1973 actually running higher, at 3.3 per cent, than since we joined, only 2.2 per cent a year.

And although the UK growth rate has been somewhat lower in recent years the economy has still grown by about 4.5 per cent since the EU referendum in June 2016, more than twice the one-off GDP boost from the creation of the EU Single Market which is claimed by the EU Commission, and despite all the predictions of economic disaster if we dared to vote to leave the EU.

It should also be said that the GDP benefit claimed by the EU is an average gross benefit across the EU, and the gross benefit obtained by the UK has been well below that average, and moreover even that has been offset by the high costs of the Single Market.

EU supporters in the UK have always felt it necessary to greatly exaggerate its economic impact, when it has never been more than marginal and most likely marginally negative.

Dr D R COOPER

Belmont Park Avenue

Maidenhead  


Show some love for children’s hospice 

As we are fast approaching Valentine’s Day, why not share the love, not only with your special other, but also with your local hospice service, Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service (based at Woodlands Park Avenue, Snowball Hill), by holding a Valentine’s tea, as I shall be doing in Reading, or a coffee morning, sponsored walk or run or by wearing a heart of pink, as I will be on Valentine’s Day?

The wonderful Alexander Devine service currently provides palliative care to over 150 children living with life-threatening or limiting illnesses in the community (with an estimated demand of over 600) and is entirely funded by the local community and local businesses.

It is currently fundraising to open its 24/7 beds at its hospice in Maidenhead.

PAUL FARMER

Wensley Road

Reading

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